BBB alerts consumers about tree trimming scams - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

BBB alerts consumers about tree trimming scams

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A woman is the subject of a Better Business Bureau alert-- and Lake Charles Police are looking for her.

Investigators say she's going around taking money from consumers for tree services and then not delivering.
 
Lake Charles Police have issued an arrest warrant for Chasity Touchet on a charge of theft.

That after local consumer Kay Gilleland paid Touchet up front to take down a dead tree.

"I got money from the credit union and put it in the bank so I could write them a check and then like an idiot. I know better, I gave her the check for $900. And that was the last I saw of her," said Gilleland.

Gilleland admits part of what caused her to let her guard down is that she had hired the woman before.

"Always wait until they're finished with the job.  I know that and I still screwed up," said Gilleland.

Carmen Million with the BBB says the company doing business as "Daniel's Tree Care" has an F rating with them.  She says letters to the company have been returned unopened. 

"This company is contacting people, they're asking for money up front, they're not doing the work, which could be considered fraud, they have an F rating with the BBB because we have several complaints which remain unanswered, unresolved at this time.  The BBB always suggests that before you hire anybody to do work you check whether it's tree trimming or work on your home or your driveway that you verify that they're properly licensed and insured and bonded," said Million.

As well Million says it's always a good idea to get three quotes and don't just automatically take the lowest bid.
 
"You want to do an on site bid and you want it in writing," said Million.

And you should have a written contract spelling out exactly what will be done.
Gilleland speaks out, hoping to save someone else.

"Just don't be suckered and don't ever give somebody money until they've finished the job completely to your satisfaction," said Million.

If Touchet is successfully prosecuted, Gilleland hopes perhaps she can get her money back.  
For tips on how to avoid being a victim of a tree trimming scam read the bbb news release following this story.

Copyright 2014 KPLC All rights reserved

Carmen Million, President of BBB Serving Southwest Louisiana, Inc. is warning residents of the business practices of Daniel's Tree Care claiming to be based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The BBB has received complaints concerning an individual, Chasity Touchet who has approached residents in the local area offering to perform tree removal services; however, after receiving payment, the company did not complete work and in several cases did not perform any work. Consumers stated that checks were written out to Chasity Touchet and not a company name.

 

Daniel's Tree Service continues to target unsuspecting consumers in Southwest Louisiana as evidenced by numerous recent complaints, resulting in an "F" rating. Million stated according to Calcasieu Parish Licensing, City of Lake Charles Licensing and Sulphur City Licensing, Daniel's Tree Service does not have a license to operate nor does the company have a permit to solicit door to door.

 BBB offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a tree trimming scam:

Always ask to see the person's credentials and call the company they are representing for verification. Be wary of workers from out of state. This makes it more difficult to contact them should there be a problem.

  • Be suspicious if you are greeted by name, approached while you are outside your home or cash is demanded as payment for their product or service.
  • Be suspicious if the company demands payment up front
  • Be cautious of those who will not put their estimate in writing. Do not take verbal quotes.
  • Be cautious of workers who are using vehicles without any company markings on them. Legitimate companies are proud of their names and usually display them on their vehicles.
  • Be sure to get at least 3 quotes for the work to be done and don't automatically choose the lowest bid.
  • Be sure to verify that the company is properly licensed with Louisiana Department of Agriculture and the local licensing agencies such as city and parish.
  • Be sure to check the company out with BBB at 337-478-6253 or www.bbb.org.

 

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